NDSU Claims Three Individual Titles, Takes 2nd Overall at Southern Scuffle

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The North Dakota State wrestling team claimed three individual titles and took second overall at the 2023 Southern Scuffle Monday at McKenzie Arena on the campus of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Jared Franek claimed his second-straight Southern Scuffle title at 157 pounds, while Kellyn March and Owen Pentz claimed titles at 149 pounds and 197 pounds, respectively, to lead the way for the Bison. March and Pentz join Franek as the only Bison to claim Southern Scuffle titles.

North Dakota State finished second overall for the second straight season, finishing with 144.5 points, the most in program history at the event, breaking the previous team high of 109.5 set last season. The Bison finished behind only team champion Oklahoma State (181). Missouri (125), Stanford (105.5), and Minnesota (96) rounded out the top five.

The three individual champions for North Dakota State matched Oklahoma State for a tournament high. The Bison added two runner-up finishes, a fourth and a fifth. NDSU’s seven placers is a new high for the Bison at the event, breaking the previous high of six last year and in 2020. The five finalists were also the most by any team at this year’s event.

The Bison began the day with all five wrestlers who reached the semifinals, winning to reach the championship final Monday night. March claimed the first title in the evening session, knocking off #21 Victor Voinovich (Oklahoma State) with a takedown in sudden victory to win 5-3. March defeated #23 Quinn Kinner (Rider) 9-3 in the semifinal to advance to the title match.

Franek then stepped onto the championship mat and recorded his highest-ranked victory in his collegiate career, defeating #3 Kendall Coleman (Purdue) by tiebreaker criteria to claim his second-straight Southern Scuffle title. Franek defeated Stanford’s Charles Darracott to reach the final.

Pentz claimed the final title for the Bison at 197 pounds. In the semifinal, Pentz pinned #4 Ethan Laird (Rider) to earn his spot in the final. With his pin over Laird, Pentz has now pinned the #2, #3, and #4 wrestler in the country in his collegiate career.

In the final, Pentz trailed 4-2 but tied the match at 4-4 late in the first period with a takedown. Pentz then won a quick escape over #16 Lou DePrez (Binghamton) to start the second before DePrez retired by medical forfeit.

Michael Caliendo and DJ Parker also reached the championship finals on Monday. Caliendo defeated #20 Andrew Sparks (Minnesota) for the third time this season to reach the 165-pound final before falling to #2 Shane Griffith (Stanford) 3-2 in the final. Parker defeated Gavin Stika (Oklahoma State) 5-1 in the semis before losing to #14 Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State) 3-1 in the final.

Juan Mora claimed fourth overall in the heavyweight division, while Dylan Droegemueller took fifth overall in the 141-pound class to wrap up the placing finishes for the Bison in the event.

Southern Scuffle Results

North Dakota State Individual Results:
149 | Kellyn March | 5-0 | Champion
W over Jake Adams (Little Rock), Dec 6-0
W over Drew Roberts (Minnesota), MFF
W over Jordan Williams (Oklahoma State), Dec 10-9
W over #23 Quinn Kinner (Rider), Dec 9-3
W over #21 Victor Voinovich (Oklahoma State), Dec 5-3 (SV)
157 | #4 Jared Franek | 6-0 | Champion
W over Dominic Isola (Virginia), MD 13-1
W over Sebas Swiggum (Minnesota), MD 13-0
W over Ben Monroe (Iowa State), MD 10-1
W over Vinny Zerban (Northern Colorado), Dec 4-1
W over Charles Darracott (Stanford), Dec 3-2
W over #3 Kendall Coleman (Purdue), Dec 2-2 (TB-RT)
197 | #28 Owen Pentz | 5-0 | Champion
W over Mateo Morales (CSU-Bakersfield), Fall 2:26
W over Colden Dorfman (Virginia), TF 17-1 5:59
W over #29 Michial Foy (Minnesota), Dec 5-3 (SV)
W over #4 Ethan Laird (Rider), Fall 6:03
W over #16 Lou DePrez (Binghamton), MFF 5-4 3:03
165 | #12 Michael Caliendo | 4-1 | 2nd Place
W over Cam Steed (Missouri), Dec 8-3
W over Stoney Buell (Purdue), Dec 6-1
W over Hunter Garvin (Stanford), Dec 7-4
W over #20 Andrew Sparks (Minnesota), Dec 2-1
L to #2 Shane Griffith (Stanford), Dec 3-2
184 | DJ Parker | 4-1 | 2nd Place
W over Mason Diel (Little Rock), MD 13-1
W over Ben Vanadia (Purdue), TF 16-0 3:28
W over #22 Sean Harman (Missouri), Dec 2-1
W over Gavin Stika (Oklahoma State), Dec 5-1
L to #14 Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State), Dec 3-1
285 | Juan Mora | 5-1 | 4th Place
W over #28 Zack Knighton-Ward (Hofstra), Dec 5-1
W over Logan Andrew (Chattanooga), Dec 3-1 (SV)
L to #29 Garrett Joles (Minnesota), Dec 5-4
W over Seth Nitzel (Missouri), MFF 3:11
W over Josiah Hill (Little Rock), Dec 2-2 (TB-RT)
W over #21 Jonah Niesenbaum (Duke), Dec 3-2
L to #24 Konner Doucet (Oklahoma State), Dec 2-1 (TB)
141 | #11 Dylan Droegemueller | 5-2 | 5th Place
W over Angelo Martinoni (CSU-Bakersfield), Dec 6-1
W over Vance Vombaur (Minnesota), Dec 4-3
L to #25 Darren Miller (Bucknell), Dec 4-2
W over Jack Gioffre (Virginia), Dec 2-1
W over Angelo Martinoni (CSU-Bakersfield), Fall 1:15
L to #6 Jake Bergeland (Minnesota), Dec 3-1 (SV)
W over #25 Darren Miller (Bucknell), MFF
– – – Non-Placers – – –
Sorted by weight class
125 | Carlos Negrete | 0-2
L to #28 Caleb Smith (Appalachian State), MFF 1-0 3:17
L to Jeffery Jacome (Gardner Webb), MFF
133 | McGwire Midkiff | 3-2
W over Josh Sarpy (Little Rock), Fall 1:20
L to #27 Brayden Palmer (Chattanooga), Dec 3-1
W over Cael Keck (Little Rock), Dec 6-0
W over Ethan Oakley (Appalachian State), Dec 5-2
L to #23 Sean Carter (Appalachian State), Dec 3-2
141 | Gavin Drexler | 1-2
L to #6 Jake Bergeland (Minnesota), Dec 4-2
W over Issac Byers (Appalachian State), TF 15-0 5:39
L to Mckenzie Bell (Rider), Dec 12-5
149 | Gabe Schumm | 2-2
W over Chase Tebbets (Little Rock), Dec 4-2
L to Benji Alanis (Northern Colorado), Dec 4-1
W over Trey Kruse (Purdue), Dec 10-4
L to Blaine Brenner (Minnesota), Fall 5:45
149 | Max Petersen | 1-2
L to Chris Sandoval (Northern Colorado), Dec 9-5
W over Corbin Dion (Gardner Webb), MD 11-3
L to Patrick Rowland (Duke), Dec 3-1 (SV)
174 | Gaven Sax | 2-2
W over Albert Urias (CSU-Bakersfield), Dec 3-2
W over Will Miller (Appalachian State), Dec 5-4
L to #11 Peyton Mocco (Missouri), Dec 7-4
L to #21 Julien Broderson (Iowa State), Dec 3-0
174 | Riley Habisch | 3-2
W over Warren Hoyt (Little Rock), Dec 2-0
L to #4 Dustin Plott (Oklahoma State), Dec 5-3
W over Macartney Parkinson (Purdue), Dec 4-0
W over #33 Sam DePrez (Binghamton), Dec 3-1 (SV)
L to Triston Wills (Little Rock), Dec 5-2
184 | Michael Nelson | 0-2
L to #23 Jacob Nolan (Binghamton), Dec 6-0
L to Jacob Hansen (CSU-Bakersfield), MD 9-1
197 | Spencer Mooberry | 1-2
W over Sam Mora (Gardner Webb), Fall 1:23
L to Stephen Little (Little Rock), Dec 9-4
L to Xavier Vasquez (Northern Colorado), Dec 8-3

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